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Israel vs. Utopiaby Joel Schalit
Synopses & Reviews
Israel is a synonym for many things, the ancestral home of the Jewish people, the hell of the Palestinians; the realization of a centuries-old dream of freedom, and the heart of the War on Terror. No country inspires as much debate about its rights and wrongs, its legitimacy and illegitimacies, as Israel. Historically associated with Europe, such debate finally became common in the U.S. during the Bush era, as America deepened its involvement in the region, and Israel fought three wars.
In his new book, Israel Vs. Utopia, Israeli American journalist Joel Schalit distinguishes between the Israel he knows and the image of it that exists in the imagination of Americans. Israel is a state of mind, Schalit argues, as much as it is its own sovereign state. Exploring this tension, in America, in Israel, employing a combination of personal observation, political, and cultural commentary, Schalit defines the instability of Israel, as a metaphor, and America's troubled love for it, as only an Israeli American would know.
"Israel vs. Utopia examines the facts on the ground to explain how Israel and the U.S. have become ever more entwined over the past four decades." Philadelphia City Paper
"Joel's work intuitively captures the pains, struggle, and contradictions of the Middle East, and offers a rare window into its possibilities for hope." Arthur Neslen, Occupied Minds and In Your Eyes a Sandstorm (forthcoming)
Employing a combination of personal observation, political commentary, and cultural analysis, Joel Schalit examines the instability of Israel's public image around the world, and America's troubled love for it, as only an Israeli American would know.
Israeli American journalist Schalit distinguishes between the Israel he knows and the image of it in the minds of Americans.
"Behind Joel Schalit's wit and humor lies a profound and exhilarating analysis of Israeli politics. His humanist thinking sends us a message both realistic and full of hope. A must-read for anyone who believes that peace is still an option in the Middle East."--JULIEN PAIN, editor, France 24's Observers
"Fresh thinking about the Middle East is rare, but thats Joel Schalit's specialty. Regardless of your politics, you probably won't see Israel in the same way again after reading this admirable and engaging book—and that's something we all need. And you'll probably develop an irresistible appetite for good hummus along the way."--DOUG HENWOOD, author of After the New Economy
"Israel vs. Utopia is a compelling book about Israel's perceived identity in the West and the reality on the ground. Schalit offers a genuine and honest look at both sides of the equation."--JAMAL DAJANI, senior director of Middle East programming, LINK TV
"Joel Schalit is an unusually considered and nuanced voice, the sort rarely heard amid the maelstrom of Israel-Palestine news coverage. Few writers live and breathe news from the region as he does, and fewer still can analyze and blend it with such eclectic, rich, and informative life experiences. Schalit's work intuitively captures the pains, struggles, and contradictions of the Middle East, and offers a rare window into its possibilities for hope."--ARTHUR NESLEN, author of Occupied Minds
About the Author
Joel Schalit is the author of the critically acclaimed Jerusalem Calling and the editor of several collections, including The Anti-Capitalism Reader. His writing has appeared in AlterNet, the Forward, the Guardian, and XLR8R. Schalit currently comments on Middle Eastern politics for French global news broadcaster France 24, and he is the culture editor of the New York Jewish periodical Zeek. He lives in Milan, Italy.
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